Who You Calling Lazy?

Personality Self-Portrait by John M. Oldham M.D. and Lois B. Morris is a very useful book for any writer who wants to create characters from their imaginations (instead of basing a character on someone they know).



1. They believe in their right to enjoy themselves on their own terms in their own time.  They value and protect their free time.

2.  They deliver what is expected of them but no more.  They expect other people to respect that limit.

3.  They can comfortably resist doing demands that they feel are unreasonable.

4.  They are easygoing and optimistic that whatever needs to get done will get done eventually.

5.  They accept themselves and their approach to life.


1.  Self–The Right To Be Me

Independence is their first priority.  After meeting his or her obligations, including those to the family, they do what pleases them whether it be sports, art, nature, drinking beer and watching TV.  Nothing will change their mind.

2.  Relationships–You Don’t Own Me

They like or even need to be taken care of, and they enter into relationships easily.  However, they are suspicious of others because they expect other people to ask too much of them.  Their foolproof defense against being taken advantage of:  they simply refuse.  They are very skilled with saying “no” without being intimidating, rigid, or unpleasant.

They often appear lazy to people who don’t share their views.  But, it’s not laziness; it’s the Leisurely insistence that a large portion of their time is ABSOLUTELY their own to use as they please, free of any outside influence.  They aren’t rebels or angrily defiant people. No, they won’t yell or argue; they will just simply refuse the request.

They WILL NOT put the needs of the relationship first, and they don’t go too far out of the way to please other people.  Their partners will need to have a strong Devoted or Self-Sacrificing style to tolerate Leisurely self-interest.

  • Completely dominated by Conscientious or Self-Confident should look elsewhere because they won’t be able to accept the Leisurely approach to life.  Vigilant will be very responsible and take care of things that their partner will let slide.  Another Leisurely could be attracted, but they both will want to be taken care of so one of them should have strength as well as Devoted or Self-Sacrificing.
  • Dramatic and Mercurial are not compatible types because their partner wouldn’t be there emotionally when they’d need support.  Also, Adventurous wouldn’t  work out either.  They tend to want to break the rules while their partners like to play by the rules.

They are responsible breadwinners who are concerned about their children’s basic needs; however, they tend to believe that what is best for them is best for their children.  They won’t go out of their way to adapt to their kid’s needs or wants if they are different then their own.

3.  Work–It’s Just A Job

They are not get-ahead types.  They are cooperative and good workers, but they won’t take work home, won’t worry about work after hours, won’t do work that isn’t their responsibility, nor they won’t try to please the boss by doing extra work.  “IT’S NOT MY JOB!” is their motto when a boss demands extra work from them.  They are always aware of their rights–fair is fair, and anything else is exploitation.  If self-employed, they won’t let their clients put excessive demands on them.

They know where to set their limits on house work or taking care of the family.  When they come home from a long day at their “real” jobs, they may not be helpful in pitching in with chores, etc.

They can do well for themselves even if other people think they haven’t done as well as they “should”.  Since they often work for the same company through the years, they may be promoted to managers.  Here, they expect a day’s work for a day’s pay.  They don’t push employees too hard, but they expect them to follow the rules.

For Leisurely, it’s best to seek a 9 to 5 where they know exactly what is expected of them.  They like routine because they prefer their challenges outside of a work environment.  Or self-employment is another good option since they can make their own hours.

4.  Emotions and Self-Control–Relax, Enjoy, Avoid Stress

They make their lives as comfortable as possible, so postpone the more difficult tasks until the last minute.  The most stress for them is when someone pushes them to do more than what they think is fair or when someone pressures them to change their priorities.  If angry, they’ll be indirect about it–become grouchy, will procrastinate.  They will avoid a head-on confrontation, but if the other person stays persistent, they will justify their behavior and even try to rally other people onto their side.

All they need is a little leisure time to enjoy themselves.  They have good self-control and not driven to excesses.

5.  Real World–Keeping A Low Profile

They believe the world is populated with people who claim authority over others, making them do unimportant tasks all the time.  So, they protect their identities by keeping a low profile, fulfilling only the obligations that they must do, and then they concentrate on what’s important to them in their own time.


1.  Don’t approach a relationship expecting to change them to suit your needs.  Instead, ask yourself what you like or are attracted to about them.

2.  Instead of judging one value system as better than the other, ask yourself whether your two value systems can co-exist.

3.  Life with this person may demand more sacrifices from you than from them.  Can you cope with this without feeling bitterness or resentment?

4.  Instead of waiting for them to figure out what’s important to you, tell them directly.

5.  Offer to assist with things they need to do.  If they don’t get around to it, don’t nag or complain, and don’t take it personally.

6.  If they begin stalling, refusing or forgetting to do something, ask them “Are you angry about something?”

7.  Observe their hobbies and join in.  They don’t need to be alone when they’re doing their own thing.

8.  Take good care of them because they are suckers for getting pampered and loving attention.


1.  Ask yourself whether there’s anything you can do to help other people enjoy their happiness.  Don’t think of it as work.

2.  If you do it today, then you’ll have plenty of free time tomorrow without anyone being angry at you.

3.  For every chore or task you have to complete, find a way to enjoy yourself now or later.  Try to make it fun.

4.  Do some of it.  If you do little by little, you don’t have to give up all the fun in your life at once.

5.  Do it now.

6.  You tend to groan when you think about all the things you are obliged to do.  Instead, look at the positive consequences.

7.  You are so good at finding ways to entertain yourself that you may become oblivious to others.  Ask people to join you.



A pervasive pattern of passive resistance to demands for adequate social and occupational performance, beginning of early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by at least 5 of the following:

1.  procrastinates–puts things off so that deadlines aren’t met

2.  becomes sulky, irritable, or argumentative when asked to do something they don’t want to do

3.  seems to work deliberately slow or to do a bad job on tasks that they really don’t want to do

4.  protests, without justification, that others make unreasonable demands on them

5.  avoids obligations by “forgetting”

6.  believes that they are doing a much better job than others think they are doing

7.  resents useful suggestions from other people concerning how they could become more productive

8.  obstructs the efforts of others by failing to do their share of the work

9.  unreasonably criticizes or scorns authority


They don’t recognize that they have done anything to make other people angry or to cause them to fail.  If things go wrong, then it’s the other person’s fault.  Their actions are so indirect, so passive, that they dodge responsibility.  To them, compliance feels like submission–which equals humiliation.

They are angry over deep, forgotten hurts inflicted on them in their childhoods by their parents who they depended on for love, attention, protection.  As adults, they remain very dependent on the important people in their lives, but their neediness scares them and opens up old wounds.  They are afraid of acting aggressively toward the people they are dependent on, so they resort to expressing their feelings in a covert, passive way.  Trapped between love and hate, passivity, assertion, these troubled people find small comfort, happiness, or pleasure.  They tend to externalize their suffering rather than look inward toward their pain.


The psychotherapist wants to help them locate the inner sources of their anger and hurt.  Very often their parents gave them extremely contradicting, inconsistent, or confused messages about what was expected of them.  Others reveal a childhood where there parents acted indifferent towards them or preferred a brother or sister over them.  Others say their parent was always openly hostile.

The therapist will require patience, for these patients resist the efforts of them just as they resist the demands of everyone else in their lives.  They have little perspective on the sources of their problems.  The therapist must be able to deal constructively with their own anger that these patients may cause.


Alcoholism, depended on drugs, depression, anxiety, suicide, and psychosomatic illnesses are associated with Passive-Aggressive disorder


It’s very hard to get through to them about what they are doing to hurt themselves and other people.  Keep in mind that deep down, most of them are very needy and may not risk losing you should it come to that.  A person with this disorder who begins to suffer extreme anxiety or depression may agree to seek help.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

P.S.  For all the writers out there, have you ever written characters who have Leisurely style or Passive-Aggressive Disorder tendencies in your stories?

3 thoughts on “Who You Calling Lazy?

  1. I just clicked on your character tab and found this and the other articles and I love it. I had never heard of the leisurely personality before. Ugh, it’s me to a tee. These are great articles for people looking to improve and give their characters more depth.

  2. Hey Loannis Batsios,
    Thanks for stopping by. Leisurely is me to a tee also. Experts say that there are 13 main personality styles and that everyone has a bit of every style in them–it’s just some are more dominant than others. After researching all the different styles, I finally understand why I like to have my cake and eat it too LOL.

    I plan to post all 13 styles (in fact I just posted about sensitive/avoidant people a couple of minutes ago) on my blog, so be on the look out.

    Keep smiling,

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